Austin Jenkins

Olympia Correspondent

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia–based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. He regularly files stories for NPR News. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin was a freelance general assignment reporter at KING–TV, the NBC affiliate in Seattle. He also worked as a freelance education reporter for KPLU–FM, the Tacoma–based NPR station. Austin spent 2001 in Washington, D.C. as a Knight Foundation/American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. Austin has also worked as a television reporter in Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; and Bozeman, Montana. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and has a B.A. in Government from Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Over the years Austin has won numerous professional awards for his reporting. He lives in Olympia with his wife Jennifer Huntley and their two children.

Read Austin's blog, "The Washington Ledge: Dispatches From Olympia."

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Wash. Governor's Schedule
4:20 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Washington Governor’s Schedule Includes Lots Of Pot Talk

Washington Governor Jay Inslee gives reporters and cameras a tour of his office following a news conference.
Credit Austin Jenkins

Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s first weeks in office were highlighted by marijuana legalization and meetings with key Democratic constituencies. That’s according to copies of his schedule released to our Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins under a public records request.

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Healthcare Costs
6:23 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Washington State Pays For More Than Half Of Births

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 4:42 pm

SHELTON, Wash. - It’s one of the most vexing problems state lawmakers face: how to curb the rising cost of healthcare. In Washington, there’s one specific line item in the healthcare budget that’s startling, but few at the Capitol are talking about: taxpayers now foot the bill for more than half of all births in Washington. But why is that number is so high?

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Medical Marijuana
5:07 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Medical Marijuana Tax Proposed To Address Black Market Concerns

Brianna Butterfield Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 5:07 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Three powerful Democrats in the Washington state House are proposing a new 25 percent tax on medical marijuana. The measure introduced Thursday is designed to avoid an underground market for medicinal pot once recreational marijuana is legally sold in stores.

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U.S. Secretary of Interior
4:36 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Washington Governor Calls REI CEO Jewell A Friend

CSPAN

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 4:05 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Jay Inslee calls President Obama’s choice for Secretary of the Interior “a friend.” The President Wednesday announced REI CEO Sally Jewell as his choice to replace Ken Salazar.

Inslee says Jewell -- a Seattle-area native -- believes natural resource protection and economic development can go hand-in-hand.

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Medicaid Expansion
4:14 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Washington Governor Urges Expansion Of Medicaid 'Quickly'

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 3:50 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. –Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants state lawmakers to move “quickly” to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. At a news conference Wednesday, the Democratic governor described expansion as a “no brainer” that will save the state money.

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Medical Marijuana
3:56 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Washington Lawmakers Hear Concerns on 'Gray' Market For Marijuana

DEA

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 3:46 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Card-holding medical marijuana patients would get protection from arrest under a proposal in the Washington legislature. But some industry insiders say it doesn’t go far enough. That was their message Monday at a state Senate hearing.

By the end of this year, the production and use of recreational marijuana in Washington will be regulated and taxed. That’s because of voter-approved Initiative 502. But medical marijuana – also voter-approved back in 1998 – is largely unregulated.

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Legalized Marijuana
5:12 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Former U.S. Attorney Expects Organized Crime Will Target Legal Pot

Former U.S. Attorney John McKay
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

  Fronts for organized crime may try to get a piece of the action as Washington moves to implement legalized marijuana. That’s the prediction of former U.S. Attorney John McKay, a key supporter of Washington’s new pot law.

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NPR Story
5:05 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Former US Attorney Expects Organized Crime Will Target Legal Pot

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 4:57 pm

Fronts for organized crime may try to get a piece of the action as Washington moves to implement legalized marijuana. That’s the prediction of former US Attorney John McKay, a key supporter of Washington’s new pot law.

As US Attorney, John McKay prosecuted marijuana smugglers. Now he teaches law school and has become a visible activist in the legalization movement. McKay believes the regulated sale of pot to adult, recreational users is key to ending the border violence in Mexico. But he acknowledges the black market won’t go quietly into the night.

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Education Reform
4:57 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Washington Senate Democrats: GOP Pushing 'Cookie-Cutter' Education Reforms

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 4:59 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Democrats in the Washington Senate are on the attack over a series of Republican-backed education reform measures. At a news conference Friday, the Democrats accused Republicans of getting boilerplate legislation from a corporate-backed education foundation run by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Democrat Andy Billig serves on the Senate K-12 committee. He highlighted two specific proposals: letter grades for schools and holding back struggling third graders.

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Marijuana Legalization
6:36 am
Fri February 1, 2013

'Grey' Market Concerns Grow As Washington Legalizes Pot

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 5:32 pm

As Washington moves to legalize marijuana, there are fresh concerns that a parallel market for pot will continue to flourish. It’s not quite a black market. Let’s call it a “grey” market – for medical marijuana. The question now: how will highly taxed and regulated pot compete with largely unregulated medical marijuana?

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